Get Ready for A Celebration of Harry Potter with James and Oliver Phelps
This weekend A Celebration of Harry Potter is taking place at Universal Orlando Resort. For three magical days you’ll be able to experience interactive activities inside the Harry Potter Expo, check out the panels and demonstrations, and hear from a few of your favorite Harry Potter film stars.
Speaking of film stars, James and Oliver Phelps – who portrayed Fred and George Weasley in all eight films – will be joining us. You’ll be able to hear from them during special Q&A sessions throughout the weekend.
To get ready for the event, I’m excited to share with you an exclusive interview with both brothers about A Celebration of Harry Potter, their favorite memories at the parks, and stories about their time on set filming.
What are you most excited about for this year’s A Celebration of Harry Potter?
- JAMES: Catching up with our old friends and telling some stories on the way.
- OLIVER: This year is the first time I’ve been to A Celebration of Harry Potter while Diagon Alley is open. So, to see everyone who’s at the event who’s been to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes will be great fun. There’s always such a brilliant energy from the fans. It’ll be awesome!
You’re certainly no strangers to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. What do you love the most about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that keeps you coming back?
- JAMES: There are many reasons, but honestly it is the interactions we get to have with the fans in such a unique setting…. plus, the Butterbeer ice cream is amazing.
- OLIVER: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is such a brilliant attraction. It’s more than just a land in a world-renowned theme park. It always blows my mind how immersive it is – more so even than the sets were when we were filming.
You were here for the openings of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. What were the most memorable moments from each opening?
- JAMES: The opening of Hogsmeade was the biggest thing I have ever seen. Oliver and I were at the entrance to the park doing press before sunrise and as the sun slowly came up we could see tens of thousands of people waiting to get in. It really is an amazing memory.
- OLIVER: I always remember two things and they’re very contrasting. The first is being able to go around the land with literally nobody in it. It was just like having your own theme park! The second is the number of fans who came to see the opening. Some knew they weren’t going to make it inside themselves but they needed to be there. It’s those memories that remind me how amazing the Harry Potter fans are.
What is it like to see yourselves in the theme parks’ attractions?
- JAMES: Let’s just say, it’s not every day you can see yourself in a theme park ride as cool as the Hogwarts Express.
- OLIVER: Without trying to sound too egotistical…. it’s the best thing you can hope to see.
Let’s look back on your time filming for the movies. What was the most memorable part of filming for you?
- JAMES: The first day walking into the Great Hall. Everyone’s face was just like Harry’s in the film. The Great Hall was so detailed … it was unbelievable.
- OLIVER: I remember filming the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Having had three weeks of dance lessons, being able to be in a mosh pit and see a concert in the Great Hall, it was a brilliant time.
Was it a stretch for you to play the Weasley twins in the movies? Are you, the Phelps brothers, just as mischievous in real life?
- JAMES: It depends who is around us… but we do like to have a joke now and again.
- OLIVER: Fred and George were always my favourite characters in the books, so to be able to play them in the film was a relatively easy transition. We could let loose, have a joke and get away with it. Are we as mischievous in real life? Maybe not quite as much as Fred and George but we have some fun.
Was there ever a time on the set when you two embraced your characters a little too much, and ended up pulling a prank or two on any of your castmates?
- JAMES: Oh yes. That was the great thing about playing them. If we were ever caught, we could just say “we were in character!”
- OLIVER: We pulled some pranks while filming. Not just on castmates but also on the crew. There was one cast member who we pranked and we totally forgot about it. We saw a psychic on TV talking about people who see their pets as a member of the family. So, we sent an email in referencing this cast member’s pet – name, age etc. We went very elaborate and over the top a bit. We signed it only using their first name, sent the email in and didn’t think anything more of it. Then a few years later in an interview, this cast member brought up how they’d received a random email about their pet. I think they ended up changing their email because of it! We just sat quietly and never owned up to that one!
Let’s end with a speed round of questions. What is your favourite gag gift/prank from Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes?
- JAMES: Last time I was here with Bonnie I managed to let a whoopee cushion off behind her when she wasn’t expecting it. It still makes me chuckle.
- OLIVER: The Decoy Detonator – everyone needs a decoy every now and then.
Which is better: Hot, Cold or Frozen Butterbeer?
- JAMES: Frozen!
- OLIVER: I love the soft serve Butterbeer ice cream – so somewhere between the cold and frozen.
Which movie/book is your favourite and why?
- JAMES: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for me. The film was so much fun to shoot and the book had just come out when we had our first audition.
- OLIVER: The movies all have great memories for me. Can I say all of them?
If you have questions for the Harry Potter film talent attending A Celebration of Harry Potter, grab your tickets now. You’ll be able to hear from them during a special Q&A panel.
Click here to learn more about all of the exciting details about A Celebration of Harry Potter, including thrilling panels, special demonstrations and the Harry Potter Expo that will be packed with interactive experiences.